This past week I talked with Greg Gianforte, founder and CEO of RightNow and author of Bootstrapping Your Business. Today, to go along with my new Forbes column, I have more bootstrapping tips from serial entrepreneur and storyteller extraordinaire Cree Lawson. Cree says:
· Don’t hire through HR. There are too many other on- and offline options to find good people.
· On prospecting…instead of using recruiters, call your advertising clients and ask them who they enjoy working with. Doing more with less means leveraging what you’ve already got.
· Use frequent-flyer points/miles to pay for trips to conferences. Don’t miss these invaluable networking opportunities. There are many ways to earn miles – shop around.
· Pay relentless attention to the timing of expenses. Knowing when your money goes is just as important to budgeting as knowing where it goes.
· Work from home until you’re too big to be there. We had five people working in my bedroom at one point.
· Use public wi-fi for Internet access. We relied on this when we moved into our first office.
· Meet in hotel lobbies when clients come to town. Impress on someone else’s dime.
· Negotiate volume discounts at the restaurants you and your employees go to often. Build your business first; expense accounts can come later.
· Use refurbished computers. We never bought anything new. Just get what you need to get the job done.
· Find cheap office space. Security just wastes time in the day. Explore your options – we used rental subsidies from 911 (US emergency service) to get cheap office space.
· Bring in furniture from home. No need to get fancy – if you follow the meeting advice above, clients won’t see it.
· Get journalist passes to conferences. We also always asked for the last-minute deal at conferences.
· Never book back-to-back meetings, or meetings two days in a row. Because then they’ll know you only have one suit.
· Don’t use a payroll service. We did it ourselves for the longest time.
· Don’t pay for anything until you’ve collected it. We followed our own advice and saved a lot of money.